Health Psychology Key Issue and EOP

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Health Psychology Key Issue and EOP


The issue of why drug abuse should be treated

·      Drug abuse is something that society wishes to get rid of for a number of social and economic reasons.

·      Those who are addicted to drugs can have more health problems

·      Smoking cigarettes is linked with heart attacks and drinking alcohol is linked with liver problems.

·      Renal disease is also said to link to drug misuse

·      Drug abuse is also linked to crime, for example when an addict needs funds for their habit.

·      The cost to a society in economic terms, therefore is high.

·      In social terms too, it is seen as desirable that drug abuse is treated because peer groups are said to affect drug misuse in that they give social support.

·      This might be seen as a good thing but they can also mean it is hard to give up, which can be seen as a bad thing.

·      The issue of why drug abuse should be treated links to reasons for health campaigns and promoting good health.

The issue of how drug abuse can be treated

·      There are different treatments for drug abuse and some rest on the medical model of illness, which would suggest that biological measures will work when treating biological problems.

·      Another model that treatments rest on is the social learning model, which suggests that substance misuse comes form observational learning, so treatments might rely on observational learning as well.

·      If it is thought that drug taking is linked to genes and inherited characteristics, then this is about nature and a biological remedy might be preferred.

·      However, if it is thought that drug taking is linked to learned behaviour, then this is about nurture, and changing the environment or experiences in some way might be seen as an appropriate way to treat substance misuse.

Ideas and concepts from health psychology about treatment for drug misuse

·      Two treatments for drug abuse – Drug treatment programmes are used and have been shown to be successful (Blattler et al 2002) although they often involve counseling and other support such as help with debt management so it might not be just the maintenance drug treatment that brings about any success.

·      Token economy has been used, based on operant conditioning principles, and has also been shown to have some success.


Key Issue

·      Drug abuse can be treated by helping the addict to manage their abuse. This may mean supplying the drug or a substitute such as methadone. It can enable the addict to break the link with suppliers and manage their addiction without breaking the law. If the person is coming off drugs they are likely to need support or medication to help with withdrawal symptoms. Successful treatment may need to look for the underlying reasons why abuse started in the first


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